What asset managers, hedge funds and private equity firms should
know about their options – and how Linedata can help.
On April 11, Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 R2 will reach end of life (EOL). The Exchange Server 2013 EOL event raises security, operational, and cost considerations for investment businesses. This blog post explains the issues involved—and the different migration options—for asset managers, hedge funds, and private equity firms.
What is the potential impact of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 EOL?
Exchange Server 2013 (ES2013) is popular Microsoft email and calendar software that is the backbone of communications and scheduling in offices around the world.
April 11, 2023 marks the official Exchange Server 2013 EOL. After that date, Exchange Server 2013 will run—but it won’t be supported by Microsoft. Microsoft will no longer offer tech support, bug fixes, time zone updates, or security patches for the software.
Continuing to use Exchange 2013 after the April 11 EOL cutoff is strongly discouraged for the following reasons:
Security: Microsoft is the most attacked vendor in the industry. After Exchange Server 2013 reaches EOL, bad actors will be looking for exploitable vulnerabilities and scanning the web for unpatched ES2013 instances to attack. Using software after EOL is, therefore, a massive security risk.
Compliance: Considering the dangers involved, using Exchange Server 2013 after April 11 raises compliance and liability issues as well. While this is something that leadership in every industry needs to be mindful of, it’s far more of a formal regulatory concern for, e.g., a hedge fund or an asset management firm.
Operations: Exchange Server underlies Outlook, so users running outdated versions of the mail server software will eventually start to see compatibility issues with their Outlook add-ins. The reason is that third-party vendors, like Microsoft itself, will no longer support ES2013 after April 11. At some point, your Bloomberg or FactSet add-ins may simply stop working!
Exchange Server 2013 EOL migration options
Staying on Exchange Server 2013 after EOL is, clearly, not a feasible course of action. But what are the migration options? There are three basic choices:
Migrate to Exchange Server 2016: Exchange Server 2016 is the second newest version of the two on-premises software options, with an extended support EOL date of October 14, 2025.
Migrate to Exchange Server 2019: Exchange Server 2019 is the newer on-premises option, although it shares the same extended support EOL date of October 14, 2025 with the 2016 version of Exchange Server. Microsoft notes that users wanting to remain with on-premises software can skip over the Exchange Server 2016 upgrade and migrate ES2013 directly to Exchange Server 2019.
Migrate to Microsoft 365: This is the cloud migration option. It shifts the email and calendar infrastructure currently provided by Exchange Server 2013 to the cloud, adding new features and functionality as well.
Benefits of migrating Exchange 2013 to the cloud
Migrating Exchange Server 2013 to Microsoft 365 will be the most attractive option for many businesses. There are a several reasons why:
Cost: Microsoft has changed its licensing requirements for on-premises software, forcing users to buy cloud licenses and Client Access Licenses (CALs) in addition to their on-prem licenses. In many cases, moving to Microsoft 365 will be less expensive than using Exchange Server 2016 or Exchange Server 2019.
Security: One of the main benefits of cloud computing is that vulnerability monitoring and security patching are handled by the cloud provider directly. If you’re using Microsoft 365 and a security issue is discovered, Microsoft will address it without delay.
Resilience: Microsoft operates a vast and distributed physical infrastructure that no individual company—or managed services provider—could ever hope to match. Users of the Microsoft cloud have better overall resilience and enjoy a significant advantage in terms of disaster recovery readiness.
Flexibility: Microsoft 365 operates on a consumption-based model. Businesses that move away from on-premises or private cloud deployments to the public cloud are no longer weighed down by the fixed capital expenditures associated with physical infrastructure. Put another way, scaling usage up or down as needed is inherent to the public cloud model.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Windows Server 2012 are nearing end-of-life
Act now to avoid putting your business operations at risk
Is now the right time to migrate to the cloud?
Given the numerous benefits migrating Exchange Server 2013 to Microsoft 365, one might wonder why anyone would choose a different option. However, it’s not an entirely straightforward decision. There are some special factors that must be accounted for when investment businesses are contemplating cloud migration. Here are a few considerations for technical decision makers at asset management firms, private equity firms, and hedge funds:
Geography: If your organization has an unusual number of key employees located in places where Internet connectivity is unreliable, a cloud migration may not be the right choice at this time.
Timeline: The April 11 cutoff is approaching fast, which leaves very little time to plan a cloud migration. It’s important to bear in mind that the speed of migration is highly dependent on the number of users to be migrated and the total amount of data involved. Despite the promises of some IT providers, there is no such thing as an “instantaneous” cloud migration, because Microsoft throttles data transfer speeds. Try to shift too many users on too short a timeline and you’ll still be migrating employees when the April 11 deadline arrives, leaving some users without access to their email and calendars—or even vulnerable to attack.
Specialization: Investment businesses rely on a large number of industry-specific tools, platforms, and applications that all tie into Exchange Server. These tools tend to be terra incognita for non-specialist IT services providers. IT teams that have not performed cloud migrations in financial services environments may inadvertently “break” these mission-critical systems, leading to costly downtime.
For financial businesses, the good news is that there are specialist technical services providers to assist with your cloud migration. At Linedata, we’ve helped asset managers, private equity firms, and hedge funds all over the world migrate petabytes of data to the cloud, seamlessly and efficiently. To learn more about how Linedata can help you with your ES2013 migration, read about Linedata Technical Services or contact us directly.
About the author, Girish Khilnani
Girish Khilnani co-heads Linedata’s Technology Services business, which includes Public and Private Cloud, Cybersecurity, and Managed Services. He’s spent nearly two decades managing IT infrastructure, cloud, and global service delivery teams to provide leading-edge solutions for financial institutions. Girish is passionate about enabling operational excellence that supports the specific requirements of hedge funds, private equity, and asset managers.